This is the maddening part. Qualified & talented HS graduates disqualified from college because they can't perform our most obscure rituals. pic.twitter.com/5JSSEwVqDo— Dan Meyer (@ddmeyer) June 30, 2017
Loads of folks chimed in either to agree with me or to hassle me over my premises and I was grateful for both, but especially for the latter group which helped me sharpen up my argument.
I left with two open questions:
How do we decide whether to include a course as a university requirement for general education?
High school is different than other grade levels because our goal is to provide a liberal education, expanding minds and opening doors.— John Chase (@mrchasemath) July 1, 2017
I agree that university students should take courses outside their major in order to develop balance, roundedness, and an appreciation for the diversity of humanity’s intellectual achievements —Â whether or not they’ll ever use those courses in their eventual profession.
Clearly, I don’t think Intermediate Algebra should be one of those required courses.
But how do we decide? You’re selected to represent all of mathematics and to advance a list of courses in which every student on campus will have to enroll.
How do you decide?
My initial criteria:
- Would the course increase the odds that an undeclared student would want to major in the discipline?
- Even if she didn’t major in the discipline, would the course encourage her to recommend it to underclassmen or her own children later in life?
- Would she see it as a Jeopardy! category later in life and think, “Oh yeah, I can do some damage here.”
What kind of disciplinary knowledge should we expect of principals?
I don't want to be evaluated by someone who doesn't understand the content.— 🚲 (@AnyFishAnyTime) July 1, 2017
Someone wrote in to say that she was required to pass Intermediate Algebra as a prerequisite for becoming a principalship.
Is that threshold too high? Does it exclude too many effective principals?
Should we expect principals to be able to pass the final exam of any course offered on their campuses? Should they be able to score a passing grade on any Advanced Placement exam?
How do we decide?